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City wants old bank drive-up site

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency wants to buy a 5,000-square-foot parking lot, but the property owners don't like the price.

In June, MURA offered property owners Bill Bagley and Reginald Breeze &

36;75,000 for the former bank teller drive-up window parcel at Front and Sixth streets.

Although Jackson County has the property assessed at &

36;69,730, Breeze and Bagley said that the drive-up unit made the property more valuable than the amount proposed.

The agency's staff is asking MURA's board to pursue condemnation of the property at today's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers in Medford's City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

Bagley said he and Breeze are willing to sell, it's just that the figure was too low for them.

We hope that we can come to terms, said Bagley.

The owners lease the handful of parking spaces on the parcel and receive an income, although Bagley was not certain how much.

Bagley said he thought it was too early to start the condemnation process.

I'd call it in the preliminary stages of negotiations, said Bagley.

MURA Director Don Burt said that he hopes the agency acquires the parcel and includes it in a revamping project that would include an adjacent city-owned parking area.

We're going to redo that whole parking lot, said Burt. It needs help, so we're going to help.

The plan, said Burt, is to reconfigure what is now a difficult parking lot in which to maneuver.

The city has 63 spaces in its portion, which stretches from the edge of the teller booth to Habaneros Mexican Restaurant. They're small spaces, said Burt, and are difficult to park in. Also, the handicapped parking is below standard.

If the property is acquired, MURA will redesign the parking area from Sixth Street to Habaneros and from Front Street to the alley, said Burt.

The agency would remove the drive-up unit and add trees, landscaping, lighting and sidewalks as well as improved handicapped parking spaces for a total of 56 spaces.

There would be no charge for parking, just a time limit.

It would be two- to three-hour parking, said Burt.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail